Nothing makes us feel more productive than whipping out our scrubs and subjecting our home to a deep cleansing session. Conversely, nothing makes us feel more unhealthy than breathing in the chemical-laden scents that seem to linger for days. While cleaning often is paramount to maintaining a germ-free home, these harsh cleaning products can be hazardous to your health and also leave your home smelling like a hand sanitizer rather than a comfortable environment. With summer on the horizon, it’s time to deodorize your home the right way to make it fresh for entertaining guests. That’s why we’ve concocted a few natural formulas below that will not only leave your home clean but smelling sweet.
You’re likely aware of the all-purpose benefits of coconut oil, but what you might not know is that it has natural antibacterial properties, making it the perfect ingredient to introduce into your cleaning routine. If you own a wooden cutting board, you know they require a bit more care. Not only should you regularly clean and sanitize it, but you’ll need to condition the wood at least once a month to keep it from cracking. They’ll also hold up longer and harbor less germs with a regular cleanse, which can be accomplished with coconut oil. First, spray your board with a little vinegar before washing well with warm soapy water. Once dry, gently massage coconut oil into the wood to condition the cutting board and leave it with a shiny finish.
If you rely on your microwave to heat leftovers, the mix of aromas from various cuisines can create quite a stench. The stale air from the small, enclosed space in the machine doesn’t help either. Fortunately, deodorizing it is incredibly easy. Fill a microwave-safe bowl halfway with water, and squeeze in one whole lemon. Heat the bowl in the microwave for five minutes, and then let it sit for a couple of minutes to cool. When you open the door, you’ll be met with a clean, fresh scent.
Your garbage disposal can be a deep, dark, scary place. It can also smell pretty horrific after mixing up a bad combination of old food. Get rid of offensive scents by tossing two cups of ice and one cup of salt down a clear disposal and run it with cold water. The ice, salt, and water will negate the smell, but if you want to leave a fresh scent, follow this combo up by running it again with half a lemon.
Even if you wash your pots and pans regularly with dish soap, they could still use an extra deep-clean in between meals to remove the buildup of excess grease and grime. This natural combo will clean, sanitize, and deodorize your cookware and cutting boards with just two ingredients. First, squeeze the juice from one half of a lemon onto the surface; then sprinkle with a generous amount of coarse sea salt, and squeeze the second half of the lemon on top. Use the halved lemons as your sponges to scrub the salt into the board. Finish by removing the salt with damp paper towels. The lemon removes the potent scents of garlic and onions, and the salt works to sanitize the surface.
Before there was Windex, there was vinegar. This throwback trick works just as well now to create a crystal-clear, smudge-free reflection in your glasses and mirrors. Simply mix distilled water with white vinegar in equal parts. While there’s vinegar specifically created for cleaning, you can also use a white vinegar from your cooking cabinet. If you're not a big fan of the strong vinegar scent, mix in a couple drops of your favorite essential oil (we’re big fans of lavender) to dilute the sourness. Wipe down your windows and glass surfaces with a lint-free cloth for exceptional shine.
While cleaning out your oven might feel like an enormous feat, it’s imperative to make sure you don’t leave old food or grease laying around in fear of bad odors, or worse, a grease fire. Spritz your oven with water to wet (but not soak) the surface; then coat with baking soda to make a paste. Close the door and leave the paste on overnight or for a few hours during the day. Then scrub out all of the baking soda with some water. The paste will turn brown from all the grease and grime. Be sure to wipe off all of the baking soda before using the oven. You can also top it off with a vinegar-water mix from before to add extra shine.
The bathroom is a cleaner’s worst nightmare due to the endless list of places to clean—the tiles, the tub, the toilet, oh my! But just a few simple formulas can have the room spick-and-span. A sprinkle of baking soda mixed with water will take on tough stains on grout. Baking soda can also be used to freshen, clean, and sanitize the toilet: Coat the bowl, and scrub with a mixture of vinegar diluted with water. To tackle the tub, shower, and sink, use the 50/50 water and vinegar solution (mixed with essential oils if you prefer a sweeter scent) to remove scum from soap and shampoo.
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Which of the above formulas will help you freshen up your space for summer?